Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Clouds of Witness

I have hereby finished my first non-class required book since school started. Not that I haven't read others somewhat, just that I haven't finished any of them.

It was Dorothy L. Sayers's Clouds of Witness, the second Lord Peter Wimsey book. Where the last book featured a mysterious naked dead fellow in a bathtub and a disappeared businessman, this one hits closer to home for Lord Peter. His sister's fiancé, Denis Cathcart, is found dead of a bullet in the chest, and his brother Gerald, Duke of Denver, is accused of the murder. This book seems to me to be leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor, Whose Body?. I'd solved the mystery in that one twenty pages before Lord Peter did, but this time I was quite stumped until the end. Clouds of Witness is an enormous collection of clues and red herrings and loose ends.

It's a very good mystery, but as with many mystery novels it's the detective who makes it great. He has the most wonderful expressions, amusing divergences from the point that make him rather fascinating.
"I say, I don't think the human frame is very thoughtfully constructed for this sleuth-hound business. If one could go on all-fours, or had eyes in one's knees, it would be a lot more practical."

"There are many difficulties inherent in a teleological view of creation," said Parker placidly.
Just picture having eyes in your knees. Parker, Lord Peter's police detective cohort, is quite an excellent companion for him, believable as someone Peter would be fond of, but also sensible and average enough to balance him out.

I think a mystery was exactly what I needed to get me through a book, and I'm very glad to have read it.

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